Hollywood Gets Diversity 'Report Cards' (They're Not Good)

2 analyses issue dismal grades for including women, minority, LGBT actors and directors
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2016 10:00 AM CST
In this Feb. 21, 2015, file photo, an Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag has bounced around Twitter since last year, and it doesn't look like Hollywood's lack of diversity will be resolved anytime soon, per a USA Today report. The paper surveyed 14 studios about 184 movies being released in 2016, and the results show "disappointingly few minorities" in plum roles and only a few women with directorial honors. Culling data from movie credits, the paper worked up "report cards" based on how many women and minorities were in major roles, and the grades weren't stellar: Only four studios got a "B," most didn't surpass "C," and one got an "F." Research by USC's Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative cited in the Hollywood Reporter backs up the USA Today findings, giving mostly failing grades to studios and media companies for "whitewashing" movies and TV shows and perpetuating an "epidemic of invisibility" for women, people of color, and LGBT actors.

The industry struggles with its lily-white state because it's mired in antiquated business models and stereotypes, per a USC professor who studies the topic. "Despite the perception of the entertainment industry as being highly creative, Hollywood culture is not that original," he tells the Reporter. "Most producers, writers, agents, and directors are trying to copy the success of the previous project to reduce risk. … If they keep thinking like this, nothing will change." That's unacceptable to communities tired of being marginalized in their craft. "So maybe it's not as important as the civil rights movement, but it's almost as important," a co-founder of the African-American Film Critics Association tells USA Today. "Movies define our image and how our culture is perceived." Meanwhile, the originator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag tells the New York Daily News that she's planning a "counter-programming protest" during the Feb. 28 Oscars broadcast. (Read more Oscars stories.)

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